Reviewing Secondary Sources

The secondary source I reviewed  was a biography of the founder of Heifer Project.

Yoder, Glee. Passing on the Gift: The Story of Dan West. Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1978.

1. Provide some information about the author.

            Glee Yoder was involved with the early stages of the Heifer Program and claims that her life was ever changed from meeting and working with Dan West. Her husband, Gordon also approved of the Heifer Project. Dan West had been their church camp councilor when they were teenagers. Later in life he visited the Yoders often on trips. They have a great passion for the program and for the man who began it all.

2. Why did the author write this book? What’s the author’s perspective?

            Yoder believes that his account of Dan West’s life is both a history and a heritage, Which “celebrates a heritage to be received, enjoyed, and passed on.” She wishes to pass on the ideas of Dan West and give readers a grasp of how important faith, peace, pacifism, and dreaming were to Dan West and also the foundation of his program. Yoder was involved in the Program so obviously her own personal feelings were similar to those of Dan West.

3. What is the author’s methodology? What sources does the author use? What is the book’s thesis?

            The book is written mostly chronologically, but in a few cases topically due to Dan West’s complicated life. Yoder also provides calendars of events to help keep dates straight for the reader. The sources used were;

Dan West’s own personal booklets and pamphlets – The Coming Brotherhood, 1938. Brethren Community Service, 1943. Thinking Together, 1948. Peace Education in Homes, 1956. and Peace Education in Churches, 1957.

A Historical Survey entitled Brethren Social Policy from 1908- 1958 published in 1961.

Kermit Eby’s book The God in You, 1954.

Interviews with the West Family themselves as well as many other individuals who knew Dan along his journey.

Personal recollections of her work with the program.

4. When was the book written?

This book was written in 1978 only a few years after Dan West passed away.

5. How will you use the source for your paper?

            I will consider Dan West’s ideology and life as a glimpse into the Heifer Project’s founding principles. As a pacifist, a Christian, and an avid volunteer, Dan West founded Heifer Project to start a revolutionary program providing more practical foreign aid.

            I also hope to find more people, acts, and events to research in relation to the UNRRA and the Heifer Project, as well as Foreign Philanthropy on the whole.

6. What are some of the problems that you foresee in using this source for your paper?

            There is obviously a fair amount of bias involved in this telling of Dan West’s story. Yoder is a friend of the West’s and an avid supporter so her opinions are not that of the average Jane who might review someone else’s life.

            This book focuses only on Dan West’s life. That might serve as blinders to the other parts of my topic I hope to find information on.

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